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Appeal JR Collett v NZTR - Decision 12 March 2010



638.1.b

JASON COLLETT v NZTR
Hearing before Appeal Tribunal
At Te Rapa Racecourse on Friday 12th March 2010

JUDICIAL COMMITTEE  Mr Murray McKechnie and Mr Richard Seabrook

   
PRESENT:   Mr Jason Collett
                       Mr Richard Collett, employer
                       Mr Paul Kenny, counsel for Mr Jason Collett
                       Mr Cameron George, Chief Stipendiary Steward
                       Ms Shona Moore, Registrar

Decision of Appeal Tribunal

12th MARCH 2010

1. Decision

1.1 The way this hearing has developed today we think it appropriate to give our decision now and then we shall set out the reasons. What ordinarily happens in these situations is that the Tribunal goes through an analysis of the case put forward by each party and then at the end announces the decision. Everybody has to wait until that analysis is completed but that is not appropriate today. The appeal is allowed, the suspension is quashed and so of course is the fine which was imposed.



JASON COLLETT v NZTR
Hearing before Appeal Tribunal
At Te Rapa Racecourse on Friday 12th March 2010

JUDICIAL COMMITTEE  Mr Murray McKechnie and Mr Richard Seabrook

   
PRESENT:   Mr Jason Collett
                       Mr Richard Collett, employer
                       Mr Paul Kenny, counsel for Mr Jason Collett
                       Mr Cameron George, Chief Stipendiary Steward
                       Ms Shona Moore, Registrar

Decision of Appeal Tribunal

12th MARCH 2010

1. Decision
1.1 The way this hearing has developed today we think it appropriate to give our decision now and then we shall set out the reasons. What ordinarily happens in these situations is that the Tribunal goes through an analysis of the case put forward by each party and then at the end announces the decision. Everybody has to wait until that analysis is completed but that is not appropriate today. The appeal is allowed, the suspension is quashed and so of course is the fine which was imposed.

2. The matters for decision

2.1 Following Race 10 at the Canterbury Jockey Club on the 27th February this year Mr Collett was charged with a breach of Rule 638(1)(b). It was said that he was guilty of careless riding and angling his mount The Beekeeper out rounding final turn when not clear of Our Bee Jay ridden by Ms Lisa Allpress and that The Beekeeper dictated Our Bee Jay off its line of running and it is said  that the horse was checked.
2.2 Mr Jason Collett pleaded not guilty. He was represented before the Judicial Committee by his father the trainer Mr Richard Collett. The charge was found proved. Mr Collett was suspended for five (5) days and fined $500.00.
2.3 Mr Collett appeals both against the finding of guilt and the penalty.
2.4 This Tribunal has carefully read the transcript of evidence and the decision of the Judicial Committee given on the 27th February this year. This appeal is by way of a rehearing.

3. The case for Mr Collett

3.1 Mr Kenny counsel for Mr Collett took the Tribunal through the films of the race. He contended that these demonstrated that the horse written by Ms Allpress Our Bee Jay was having difficulty cornering on the day in question. He further contended that the film demonstrated that the horse was struggling to hold its place in the race. As the horses turned into the straight the mount of Mr Collett The Beekeeper went to move out and the film does show that there was contact. Mr Kenny contended that this contact was slight and had no significant effect upon Our Bee Jay.  He said “the horse did not miss a beat”. The Committee’s observation is assisted by lining up the horses with the strips of the grass on the track which show up in the pattern of the mowing system that is followed.
3.2 Mr Kenny pointed to what had been said by Ms Allpress the rider of Our Bee Jay. He emphasised  the acknowledgment after being questioned on the day that she was inconvenienced. Earlier there had been a suggestion by Ms Allpress that there was something in the nature of interference as distinct from inconvenience. For his part Mr Kenny said that there was no interference or inconvenience.
3.3 In considering the decision of the Judicial Committee on the day Mr Kenny drew attention to the expression adopted in the interim decision which was to the effect that Mr Collett “bulldozed his way out to obtain a running line in a manner which can only be described as careless”. Mr Kenny was critical of the characterisation adopted by the Judicial Committee. He said that there was no justification for the use of the word “bulldozed”.
3.4 Mr Kenny drew attention to the fact that The Beekeeper was the favourite in the race and he submitted that it was incumbent upon the jockey to ensure that the horse was given every possible opportunity. The Tribunal does not consider that the position of The Beekeeper as favourite is any more or less significant when it comes to compliance with rules relating to careless riding. Those rules apply with equal application to all horses. The position of the horse in the market is not relevant.
3.5 Nothing need be said on the penalty question.

4. The case for NZTR

4.1 Mr George said that the issue for the Tribunal was whether the riding in question was competitive or careless. He suggested that the Committee on the day was entitled to find that the line between competitive and careless riding had been passed and this riding fell into the careless category.
4.2 Mr George took issue with the claim that because Mr Collett was riding the favourite it was incumbent upon him to ride in a way that might have been different had he been riding a less favoured horse. The Tribunal has already expressed a view on that submission.

5. Discussion

5.1 The Tribunal has studied the films carefully and listened to what has been submitted. There was contact between The Beekeeper and Our Bee Jay. This was once only and for a very short period of time. In our judgment the chances of Our Bee Jay were not affected. Further it is clear, as Mr Kenny submitted, that the horse was having difficulty cornering and was unlikely to finish in a dividend bearing place. There was some acknowledgment on the day by the Stipendiary Steward that the horse Our Bee Jay might possibly have been beaten before the incident took place. The study of the films demonstrates that certainly the horse was not going to figure in the finish.
5.2 The characterisation by the Judicial Committee on the day that Mr Collett’s riding as “bulldozing his way out” is unfortunate and inappropriate. Mr Collett was entitled to try and put his horse in a better position. It is clear to us that the horse on the outside may have come in a little at the same time that Mr Collett moved The Beekeeper out from the running rail. The contact was, as already noted, for a very short period and the description adopted by the Judicial Committee was not justified.
5.3 We are satisfied from studying the films and the transcript of the hearing before the Judicial Committee that Our Bee Jay was not in fact inconvenienced. We make this observation quite apart from the fact that it would seem clear that that horse was not going to figure in the finish.
5.4 In our judgment Mr Collett’s riding was not careless. He sought to put his mount in a better position. There was momentary contact with Our Bee Jay.  That contact was without any consequence. Moreover Our Bee Jay, in some part at least, contributed to the contact. With reference to para.3.1 above and the mowed strips on the track it is the Committee’s view that although Our Bee Jay was pushed out it was only by a very small distance. It did not amount to interference or inconvenience. Mr Collett was entitled to do as he did and the Judicial Committee at Canterbury on the 27th February was in error in finding that there had been careless riding.

6. Details of decision and costs

6.1 The suspension is quashed and so too is the fine.
6.2 At an earlier stage Mr Collett obtained a stay of proceedings in order that he could ride at significant meetings in the Auckland Cup Carnival.
6.3 The appeal has succeeded. This by a significant margin. In all circumstances as described here there will be a costs award to Mr Collett payable by NZTR in the sum of $1,200.00.

Dated at Te Rapa this 12th day of March 2010

________________________________  
Murray McKechnie    
Chairman

 

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